News & Events

Alumni of the Year 2014

Homecoming 20141011 0134Mars Hill University has named Ann Brookshire Sherer '62 of Lincoln, NE, and T. Michael Kelly '82 of Cincinnati, OH, as the 2014 alumni of the year. Sherer and Kelly (seen here with MHU President Dan Lunsford, center) were honored and presented with plaques and gifts from Mars Hill University at a dinner in their honor, during MHU's recent homecoming festivities on October 11.

Ann Brookshire Sherer, '62 is a bishop, retired, of the United Methodist Church. She was resident bishop, Missouri Area, 1992 - 2004, and resident bishop Nebraska Area, 2004 -2012. In retirement she is serving on several boards including St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City; League of Women Voters, Nebraska; Epworth Village Children’s Home, Nebraska; and Mt. Sequoyah Retreat Center, Arkansas.

Sherer was born the daughter of Annie Jo and Homer Brookshire in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina and had the privilege of a caring, loving church centered family. After graduating from Wilkes Central High School in 1960, she attended Mars Hill College and graduated in 1962 with an associate of arts degree. Her further education includes University of North Carolina, Greensboro, B.A. 1964; Andover Newton Theological School, Massachusetts, Masters of Divinity, 1969; Candler School of Theology, Emory University, 1991; Central Methodist University, Fayette, Missouri, Doctor of Divinity, 2004; and Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2009.

From 1968 to 1976 Sherer taught school, became part of the United Methodist Church, worked at the North Carolina Good Neighbor Council, and worked in churches as a youth director while rearing her children Robbie and Ann Marie. In 1976 Sherer was ordained in the United Methodist church, Texas Conference, and served churches in White Oak, Texarkana, and Houston, Texas. She also served the Nacogdoches District as a superintendent. Then in 1992 Sherer was elected to the episcopacy in the South Central Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church, becoming the 7th woman bishop in the global connection of the church.

“Serving the local, district and global United Methodist Church, has been the greatest privilege of my life. I first heard God’s call in North Wilkesboro First Baptist Church and God has just kept opening doors of service and giving me the courage to walk through them. I am grateful beyond measure,” she says.

Ann and her husband Wayne Simpson, a retired industrial engineer, live in Lincoln. They say that their children and grandchildren are the focus of their lives these days.

T. Michael Kelly '82 graduated from Mars Hill College in 1982 with a degree in business administration and management, and later earned his MBA from Webster University. While at Mars Hill, he played basketball, serving as team captain from 1980 to 1982.

He took the leadership lessons he learned at Mars Hill and put them to use in the corporate world, climbing the management ladders of several companies. Soon after his graduation, he found a position as a production supervisor for a textile company in his hometown. In that position, and in others that followed, he learned to move away from autocratic leadership, and to adopt a more participatory style that would allow him to develop relationships with the people he managed.

Kelly joined Michelin Tire Corporation as a production supervisor in 1990. From there, his career took a meteoric path. Over the next 16 years, he obtained his master’s degree, transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio, and continued to move up in the company. In 2006, Kelly went to work for Macy’s Credit and Customer Service Division, where he is now the Vice President of Learning and Development.

An assistant district governor with Rotary International, Kelly also serves on the boards of Cincinnati Music Festival Association and the Southwest Ohio Region Workforce Investment Board. He is a former member of the board of advisors and current member of the board of trustees of Mars Hill University, and also owns and operates Right Path Enterprises.

Kelly says that what he gives in resources and time to Mars Hill is a small amount compared to what he has received, over the years, from his Mars Hill experience. "I want to be part of maintaining that legacy of learning and holistic transformation, so that young people have a chance to experience what I’ve experienced."

Mike and his wife, Melinda, live in the Cincinnati area.